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When You Eat Matters if You're Trying to Lose Weight

For most people, attempts to lose weight revolve around a combination of dietary changes and an increase in exercise. However, a new study suggests that it's not only what you eat but when you eat it that can make a difference when you're trying to lose weight.

The study found that those who eat their main meal earlier in the day lose more weight, and lose it faster, than those who eat their main meal later in the day.

420 Spanish adults participated in the study. They were classified as late eaters (lunch consumed after 3pm) or early eaters (lunch consumed before 3pm). Lunch is the biggest meal of the day in Spain, which is why the researchers focused specifically on this meal.

After following the participant's food consumption and weight loss for 20 weeks, the researchers found that the early eater group lost significantly more weight than the late eater group. This held true even though both groups displayed similar energy intake, dietary composition, estimated energy expenditure, appetite hormone levels, and amount of sleep,

They did note one difference however; late eaters tended to be “evening types” who either didn't eat large breakfasts or did not eat breakfast at all. They plan to conduct further research to determine whether breakfast consumption played a role in the results seen.

The study was conducted by researchers at the University of Murcia in Spain. It was published on January 29, 2013, in the International Journal of Obesity.

A balanced diet, exercise, and timing are important for weight loss, but there are other dietary interventions you can take when you’re trying to shed the pounds. Previous studies have suggested that eating whole grains, drinking green tea, consuming alginates and supplementing with CoQ10 may all aid weight loss efforts

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